For Melissa Dalgleish, the fight to keep alive the reputations of Canada's key female modernist poets (like Dorothy Livesay, above) is one of the essential battles of our literature:
Livesay died in 1996. [Anne] Wilkinson died long before, in 1961. Jay Macpherson, a contemporary of both and the subject of my doctoral research, died in 2012. All three were among the foremost writers of their generations, but for all three (and for most of the female poets of Canadian modernism, with the possible exception of P.K. Page) reading the body of criticism about their work reveals something strange and important. Like [Joan] Coldwell, very many critics view their critical work on these women and their writing as an act of recuperation. The fundamental impulse behind much of it is not to reveal something noteworthy about style, or relationship to historical context, or use of language, or community formation in the modernist period, although that happens along the way and often as justification for recuperation. The core message—implicit or explicit—is that the work of these women is on the verge of disappearing from the world, from our critical consciousness, and has been on that verge for a very long time. This criticism, written by those like Kaarina [Mikalson] and I who care deeply about this work and advocate strongly for its importance, fights to keep the work of these writers from disappearing from the world, from our understanding of what it was like to to be a woman writer in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, from the matrilineage of writing by and about women that forms a chain that leads right to the present.